What is Family
Dispute Resolution?

Family Dispute Resolution is a process by which separating couples in conflict are supported to communicate with each other in a healthy and safe environment.

With the support and mediation from a third party, individuals will discuss what’s important for them, and how to make decisions that will get them closer to resolving their dispute.

Where there are children involved, Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) can help families going through separation or divorce to come to their own agreements about future parenting arrangements, whilst focusing on the needs of their children. It also aims to improve relationships between the parties by encouraging them to speak openly and honestly, so they can reach a mutually satisfactory agreement.

Family Dispute Resolution is best carried out with the support of an accredited Family Dispute Resolution practitioner. They’ll work with the family to help resolve disputes and assist the family to consider different options available to them. 

FDR practitioners are impartial to both parties and purely aim to mediate the dispute. They are trained in resolving disputes in relation to families, children, finance and property matters. 

The word ‘mediation’ is sometimes used interchangeably with Family Dispute Resolution. The above video explains more about mediation / FDR. 

Who would need to use Family Dispute Resolution?

For families that are going through separation or divorce, Family Dispute Resolution is used to help resolve problems that arise around parenting matters relevant to caring for their children. 

It is compulsory for all families with children going through separation or divorce to use Family Dispute Resolution before they progress to the court system. According to the Australian Institute of Family Studies, 97% of separated parents do not need to go to court to decide their parenting arrangements. Instead they are able to resolve their disputes themselves or through Family Dispute Resolution. 

How does the Family Dispute Resolution process work? 

The FDR process generally involves: 

  • Identifying the issues which need to be resolved
  • Both parties listening to each other’s point of view without interruption
  • Each person sharing relevant information about their current situation, and plans moving forward
  • Exploring ideas and options
  • Testing possible solutions for a period of time, before returning to discuss whether the solution is appropriate
  • Putting any decisions and agreements in writing.

What are the benefits of Family Dispute Resolution? 

One of the key benefits of FDR is that it can help you resolve your family’s problems outside court. It allows you to work with your former partner and reach an agreement together, without the need to get litigation involved. 

This has a number of benefits, including prioritising the individuals’ influence on the decision-making process, which can result in a much more amicable ongoing parenting relationship. It can also give the parties more control over their decisions, rather than a court making a ruling for them. 

Finally, FDR is generally a more relaxed form of mediation and lessens the stress and trauma that can be associated with court proceedings. FDR is less costly and faster than the court process, too. 

Why become a Family Dispute Resolution practitioner? 

Becoming a FDR practitioner is an extremely rewarding and worthwhile career path. As a practitioner, you’ll develop skills in managing conflict, making decisions and supporting children of separated families. Your specialist expertise will include asset and debt identification, property settlements, parenting agreements, and child wellbeing.

There’s also the huge satisfaction that you’ll gain from making a difference in the lives of separated families. Your work will enable and empower families to come to a mutual agreement that benefits all parties and creates a positive future for all those involved. 

If you’re interested in becoming a Family Dispute Resolution practitioner and helping change lives for the better, our CHC8115 Graduate Diploma of Family Dispute Resolution may be ideal for you. Find out more and enrol online today.

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